Lugging (or dragging) a suitcase through the airport has not gotten any easier over the years. Thankfully, the works of science fiction writers are coming alive in the hands of entrepreneurs like NUA Robotics.
(NUA Robotics suitcase follows you)
Equipped with a camera sensor inside the case and Bluetooth technology, the new luggage is designed by NUA Robotics, an Israeli-based company, and able to travel automatically alongside its user once activated by a smartphone app.
Currently at a preliminary prototype stage, the carry-on suitcase is designed with a “proximity detection” feature, allowing it to move at the user’s pace, while avoiding any obstacles along its way. At the moment, it is limited to a speed of up to 5km/h but will be designed to move much faster in the future, Alex Libman, co-founder and CEO of NUA Robotics, told Telegraph Travel.
I read all about this idea in a 1975 John Brunner novel Shockwave Rider - he called it the auto porter:
...he nabbed an autoporter and - after consulting the illuminated fee table on its flank - credded the minimum: $35 for an hour's service...
From now until his credit expired the machine would carry his bag in its soft plastic jaws and follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound, which indeed it resembled, down to the whimper it was programmed to utter at the 55-minute mark, and the howl at 58...
(Read more about Brunner's autoporter)
Here's a another example from Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett.
The massive wooden chest, which he had last seen rest solidly on the quayside, was following on its master's heels with a gentle rocking gait. Slowly, in case a sudden movement on his part might break his fragile control over his own legs, Hugh bent slightly so that he could see under the chest.
There were lots of little legs.
(Read more about Luggage)